'Church leaders need Working With Children Checks'

Child abuse
Child abuse

ALL religious leaders and staff in Australia would have to have "Working With Children Checks" if new recommendations from the Royal Commission  into Child Sex Abuse are adopted.

It includes a national approach to how these checks, called a "Blue Card" in Queensland, are conducted.

The Royal Commission has today released its report into Working With Children Checks, which at the moment are approved at a state level.

These eight schemes, according to the report, "are inconsistent and complex".

The Commission has taken aim at the inconsistencies this creates nationally, warning that those who may be banned from working with children in one state can "forum shop" to receive an approval somewhere else.

If someone is unfit to work with children but has no criminal history, the states have no way of sharing that information.

"These problems mean that the system is not providing the protection to children that it otherwise could," the report finds.

The recommendations from the Royal Commission are to create a national system so checks can be used across state lines, thereby cracking down on "forum shopping".

It would also encourage those who have passed the checks to be monitored with criminal records nationally.

The Commission also recommends that "all religious leaders and officers or personnel of religious organisations" to undergo Working With Children Checks.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has already examined allegations against St Joseph's Orphanage in Rockhampton, the Diocese of Toowoomba, Marist Brothers schools in Queensland and New South Wales and Swimming Australia.

Read the Royal Commission's recommendations on Working With Children Checks here.



Topics:  church editors picks religious

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